MP and Birchington Parish Council lodge strongly worded objections to planned development on farmland

The Birchington development site

Anger over proposed large scale developments in Birchington and at Westgate and Garlinge has prompted a furious letter to government from North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale and a forceful objection lodged by Birchington Parish Council.

Sir Roger has written an objection against the development plans for 1,650 homes in Birchington and 2000 homes on land at Westgate and Garlinge.

In it he says: “The plans, collectively and severally, do not provide for adequate supporting infrastructure. The road network is quite simply unfit for purpose in respect of the servicing of these two proposed estates and I see no evidence that any thought through plan, properly funded, is available to underpin the developments.

“Equally I see no indication that funding for further primary and secondary education either within the Birchington development or the Garlinge development is available and as has been pointed out by many of my constituents there is a lamentable lack of secondary educational facility in the area.”

He says the builds will result in making “Birchington on Sea and Westgate on Sea one sprawling conurbation.”

Sir Roger Gale

The MP has also written to Secretary of State Robert Jenrick about the proposed developments saying Thanet will be used “as a dumping ground for the housing problems of inner London.”

He wrote: “Not only are these applications in gross breach of the statements made by yourself and the Prime Minister in respect of future development -not to put to finer point on it that make a mockery of the pledges -but it was your Department, under your predecessor (Sajid Javid) who imposed this Local Plan upon Thanet. It is therefore absolutely the case that you have to take responsibility for these issues. I believe very strongly indeed that these applications should be called in, considered by an Inspector and adjudicated by you as Secretary of State. We shall then know precisely where the buck stops.”

The MP says he is  acutely aware of the housing need in Thanet but adds: “I am also aware of the lack of employment in the area and the lack of supporting infrastructure for these proposed developments -none of which is backed up by funding from either developers, the County Council or Central Government.

“It is my belief that there is more than adequate brownfield land available in Thanet to meet the immediate (probably 9,000 homes) housing need and that anything else must be regarded as simply an endeavour to use the Isle of Thanet as a dumping ground for the housing problems of inner London. That would be a recipe for still further social disaster.”

However, Thanet council head of housing Bob Porter (above) told The Isle of Thanet News in June 2017 that  fears of London sink estates being created in Thanet are unlikely to come true.

He acknowledged that London boroughs are placing residents on the isle, but said this was not happening in huge numbers.

Birchington development proposal

The development plans for Birchington are for 1,650 homes, a primary school, shops, a 70 bed care home and a community park. The plans also include potential improvements to the Birchington Medical Centre, a network of new cycle and pedestrian links within the site and surrounding area and a strategic link road to help alleviate traffic in the village centre and wider Thanet area. An outline planning application for the site has been lodged by Ptarmigan Land and Millwood Homes.

Westgate/Garlinge proposal (Image JTP/Millwood Homes)

Millwood has also lodged an application for 2000 homes, including up to 100 Extra Care units, a care home, two form entry primary school, health centre and shops, cafes and restaurants on 237 acres, including agricultural land, on three parcels of land west of Minster Road; between Minster Road and Garlinge High Street and extending east of Garlinge High Street.

Aims to develop the sites are contained in the Thanet Local Plan  a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure on the isle up until 2031. A vote aimed at retaining aviation at Manston airport – an airport supported by Sir Roger – in 2018  resulted in a reallocation of properties, including a further  600 homes for Birchington, making a total of 1,600.

Birchington Parish Council has lodged major objections to the development on prime agricultural land to the south west of the village.

At a specially convened virtual parish council meeting the council voted unanimously to throw out the proposal saying it does not comply with district planning policies and contains insufficient evidence and detail to provide assurance on key matters including safety, traffic congestion and the environment.

The meeting had a large public attendance and included members of the neighbouring Westgate Town Council and Monkton Parish Council. Residents in attendance were allowed 3 minutes to speak publicly about the proposals. Several took the opportunity to express deep concerns on behalf of the community  and spoke passionately about anxieties over light pollution, rainwater management and flooding, loss of privacy from overbearing buildings and the lack of employment opportunities created by the development.

No one spoke in favour.

Birchington Parish Council has produced a 26-page response document with analysis and advice from AECOM, a large, multinational, specialist. A short presentation to the council from AECOM said there was a weakness in the reasoning behind the proposed road junctions, the location of the proposed school, shop and community hub and the routing of the major relief roads. They say particular concern is the absence of proposals to provide support and investment into the existing Birchington community.

Parish Council Chairman, Neville Hudson said “These proposals come about as a direct result of the Thanet Local Plan which was adopted by TDC councillors in July 2020. Prior to that date and since then we understand that there have been in depth discussions between TDC, KCC and the developer about these plans but sadly none of them saw fit to involve the parish council. As a result, the proposals are flawed in many ways and totally unacceptable in this form.”

The parish council says there is a failure by Thanet and Kent councils to show how a new ‘inner circuit’ bypass would be funded or built.

So far, almost 200 objections have been lodged against the development.

Cllr Hudson said: “We are aware of the deep feelings in the village and appreciate the efforts of all those who have taken the trouble to express their views to TDC, KCC and elected representatives. Although the consultation process closes this weekend residents should still feel free to express their views to TDC and KCC councillors, Sir Roger Gale MP and the Secretary of State Robert Jenrick.”

Earlier this month Millwood and Ptarmigan urged residents to view the planning paperwork, with clear explanations and a non technical outline, on their website. Ptarmigan said there is a dedicated phone number and email that can be used for any queries or requests.

Olly Buck, from Ptarmigan Land, said:“Since October 2019 through to the middle of 2020 we engaged thoroughly with Birchington residents and a multitude of other local stakeholders in order to hear their views.

“We appreciate how complicated the planning process is , especially for large applications, and that is why we have gone the extra mile to ensure our engagement was as inclusive, transparent and productive as possible.  We were delighted with the level of participation in all our events over the last two years and the feedback really helped shape our final proposals.”

Ptarmigan has been asked for comment on the objections from Sir Roger and Birchington Parish Council.

The Birchington Parish Council response to consultation is available in full on the council website: https://birchington-pc.gov.uk/ 

A Westgate Action Group has been set up to protest about development on agricultural land.

Westgate action group urges residents to join up and ‘Save Our Fields’

Plans submitted for 2000 homes, school, shops, medical centre and care home on Westgate and Garlinge farmland

82 Comments

  1. Roger Gale is a Hypocrite
    His actions in supporting Manston ex airport and his bullying of the Tory administration in 2017 led to the 2500 houses allocated to Manston being reallocated to Birchington and Westgate.
    Maybe he needs to retire as he conveniently seems to have forgotten that little matter

  2. What do the people of Birchington and Westgate expect? Those who voted for Gale voted for this intrusion. Manston should have been used for a good proportion of these houses but people are obsessed with a polluting cargo hub, which the experts have said will never succeed. Turkey’s voting for Christmas.

  3. Oh the irony!
    Karma! Chickens coming home to roost!
    You couldn’t make it up.
    It’s not too late, Sir RodgerOak, to persuade your RSP chums to scrap the ridiculous airport idea and build some houses instead.

  4. Here we are, reality colliding with Roger Gale’s fantasy. Houses have always had to be built in accordance to the local plan and his obsession with reopening doomed aviation at Manston always meant the houses would be squeezed into the villages. Bankrupt airport, bankrupt thinking by the MP for N Thanet.

  5. Roger Gale seems to have forgotten he was primarily responsible for ensuring Birchington and Westgate got all the housing which could have gone on that brownfield site called Manston thereby saving our greenfields and keeping our villages as they are. Also to blame for this crime to residents is Cllr Sam Bambridge. Coincidentally both Gale and Bambridge are very good ‘friends’ with Tony Freudmann the struck off solicitor who heads up RSP the company trying to get Manston up and running. Sadly local residents are being persuaded that the 24/7 cargo hub will be a great source of well needed jobs in Thanet but this is just more lies. The aviation industry notoriously exaggerate job numbers. When Manston first opened as a commercial airport they promised 10,000 jobs. The most jobs Manston ever employed was less than 250.
    Another subject Gale seems to be spouting is how ‘green’ the airport will be. So laughable; it is the dirty old, on their last legs, cargo planes (once used for passengers) flying in and out of Manston that will cause the the environmental and damage to residents’ health. Talking about latest eco planes are so far in the distant future for passenger planes and as for cargo, please, we are talking many decades away. It makes my blood boil that Gale believes the residents of Thanet are so gullible. He has only self interest and that of his buddies.

    • Roger Gale is a side show in all of this, the real villains are the officers and councillors at TDC who committed to a Local Plan with 17,000 new homes, 5,000 new jobs and no infrastructure – it will not work no matter how it is dressed up and all of Thanet will suffer as a consequence. Forget RG go after those incompetents who wrote the Local Plan and those cowards who put their personal political ambitions ahead of the well-being of the people of Thanet.

      • You really need to do your research
        The new LP should have started in 2011 (delayed by Tories)
        In 2009 the target was assessed (OAN) was 12000 (that is 3000 per each 5 year x4)
        New LP wasn’t started until late 2015 under UKIP when the OAN was recalculated using 2011 census instead of 2001 at 17140.
        The headline rate doesn’t take account that from 2011 to 2018 many houses were already built or given PP.
        The fields around Westgate and Birchington were bumped up because Gale campaigned to remove 2500 from the former airport site

  6. I think Gale should be angry with himself over this. He knew the homes would have to go somewhere when he was (still is) stating Manston must stay an airport so he only has himself to blame when addressing those in his constituency. It looks like he wants his cake and eat it too, he can’t have it both way’s and his pretend anger is just an attempt to save face. A hypocrite of the highest order. Maybe those living in Birchington and Westgate should remember his betrayal at the next elections.

  7. Gale’s support for Manston at all costs is directly responsible for the proposed loss of all this agricultural land and the ruination of Westgate, Birchington and Garlinge . His last minute crocodile tears and parliamentary questions should fool nobody ,Gale is a hypocrite of the highest order and should resign .

  8. Sir Roger Gale of Riveroak this is all your doing. You stopped a perfectly viable development on the disused and derelict ex-Manston Airport site for reasons unknown (are RSP going to name the terminal the Sir Roger Riveroak Terminal?) knowing full well that the houses allocated to the local plan would have to be built elsewhere. And now, guess what, they are. Your fault. Your responsibility. You hypocrite.

  9. S’roger stoking up the fires of xenophobia again I see. No evidence of inner London anything, but hey, let’s not miss an opportunity to get it in there. Birchington, you vote tory, you get tory… You might want to work on that. Gale stopped housing going on the brownfield site at Manston and I didn’t see Birchington up in arms then. Why don’t you ask him about it, he’s your MP, you had a chance to get a different one.

  10. I really do wonder how much longer it’s going to be before people start to see through this man. Now going on and on about how Manston will be a zero carbon airport, envy of the world, with hydrogen electric planes going in and out; I ask you! Large hydrogen electric jets are many years away, they’re just starting out on this technology now with itsy bitsy passenger planes. It’ll be DECADES before they troll down the line to a regional cargo hub. Sir Roger Gale is living in cloud cuckoo land. He really needs to retire and take up golf, or something, where he can’t do any more harm.

    • No thank you. I don’t want that bumbling idiot on any golf course I play. Plus, there’s an expectation that golfers should be honest so kinda rules him out.

      • I live literally next door to one of the farmland areas upon which the proposed building is suggested to happen. Over the past few years that land has grown potatoes,various green vegetables,barley and wheat. Surely it’s more important for this country to grow it’s own food as well as food for export? I agree that there are enough brownfield sights upon which to build,and also it is so very important to lay the access roads etc.first instead of almost as an afterthought? I’ve been to the meetings about the proposed new build and asked these questions, getting very unsatisfactory answers in return together with the impression that the people designated to respond to questions and queries don’t really know what their response is supposed to be!

  11. Roger and his monstrous hypocrisy is beyond belief. What goes around comes around so welcome to the green belt ruination due to his obsessive support for Manston and ensuring TDC changed the local plan to ring-fence the brownfield defunct airstrip.

    Thanet deserves so much better but for anyone in Birchington who also supports Manston, just exactly what did you expect?

  12. Here’s Roger Gale in 2018 campaigning for moving housing requirement on to this agricultural land in Birchington, Westgate, Garlinge etc, where he says “105%” of the housing requirement can be accommodated. He not only supported this, he demanded it ….
    https://youtu.be/Q5uoqajLv3w

  13. Others have made the point on here for me. Gale’s dogmatic support for the airport has led to this. He made his bed and now needs to lie in it.

  14. The people of Thanet need strategy not rhetoric, Roger Gale. ‘A dumping ground’? What kind of negative and destructive statement is this by an MP? He needs to be reminded that he is a servant of the people and was elected to represent the area, not demean it in favour of his nebulous role as public relations officer for an offshore aviation company. Thanet is full of potential but needs population, training and developing its existing resources – which if you actually live here, smacks you between the eyes – and being open to the idea of being a destination for talent moving in? We’re 75 minutes from St Pancras! No more pedalling of false hope.

  15. I seem to remember Gale publishing a list of brownfield sites drawn up by RSP where houses could go after it was pointed out that the result of his support for RSP would lead to the houses proposed by SHP at Manston being relocated to greenfield sites all over Thanet. That list turned out to be rubbish as some where already allocated and the others not viable. Gale and TDC councillor’s who support the airport reopening at Manston were warned may times that this would happen and are responsible for this situation. Now they are trying to cover their backs. Gale is an absolute hypocrite and should retire. I can’t believe people vote for gim

  16. For the love of Scooby Doo people, build a bridge and get over yourselves! even if Manston does end up covered in house’s, it won’t stop them applying to build on all these other sites and they’ll likely get it, because it’s all about money, once they’ve covered us in concrete, they’ll be off doing the same elsewhere.

    • I understand what you’re trying to say here, but this is particularly about housing allocation and the local plan. These are houses we HAVE to build in Thanet under HMG requirements. They have to go somewhere, it is not just about money.

  17. I nearly forgot thanks to TDC councillor’s who delayed the local plan in support of reopening Manston as a 24/7 cargo hub Thanet got an even bigger housing target as HMG’s formula changed in the interim. So well done to all you airport supporters.

  18. This is a prime case of the unaccountability of our politicians. Gale lies, lies some more, and then lies again, but because his constituency by and large always votes Tory he gets in again and again. You could put a decaying dinosaur up as the Tory MP and it would get in (actually, isn’t that what Thanet North have got?). Until MPs (and councillors) are held accountable for their lies we’ll just get more of the same. Sad old world isn’t it.

  19. What a mess Gale has made of this. He has been canvassing pro-airport support by asking the false question airport or houses? It would appear that the people urging caution over the airport were correct; Gale has, in fact, been campaigning for airport AND houses and every square inch of Thanet will be covered with houses with Manston in the centre like some kind of dystopian Central Park. That is, of course, until it goes bankrupt again and is shut and the property developers Riveroak start building their houses. Thanet turned into a complete conurbation. Galeville.

    I can’t believe he has the nerve to play the environmental card. He is so ignorant of current green policy. For goodness sake, he is promoting and lobbying for a new aviation company which will burn thousands of litres of the fossil fuels that were laid down when he first joined the Tory party.

  20. Is Gale on Riveroak payroll? he needs to look at the history of the many times failed airport, he spouting off about thousands of jobs honestly he needs to look at the thousands of jobs that have been lost in aviation. He has pushed thousands of houses onto agricultural land overflowing our small towns and villages. Hydrogen or electric planes seriously who believes this, cargo planes are not regulated like passenger planes they are generally retired old planes which are noisy and polluting. I have never been asked my views on an airport and speaking locally nobody seems to have been asked, so to say it’s what Thanet people want is not true, only those who believe lies about thousands of jobs.

  21. Manston was quite justifiably saved as a Airport and using that as an excuse for building on grade 1 agricultural land is a nonsense. These are just greedy developers whose only interest is financial gain, They don’t care about anything except the cheapest, easiest and quickest way to make a profit. You should not be using RG as a scapegoat but facing up to the real enemy, the Developers and anyone who assists them in achieving their goal to totally destroy our towns & villages.

    • Ed you obviously don’t read much. The houses are nothing to do with greedy developers (not that they aren’t) but are the government’s target plan for Thanet. They are required by law, and would have gone on the Manston site if it wasn’t for dinosaurs like Roger Gale/Riveroak pushing a dead-duck scheme. There is no justification for saving Manston as an airfield – it never succeeded before and with a climate emergency it’s the last thing Thanet wants or needs now.

    • And you honestly believe an all polluting Manston cargo hub wont destroy the towns and villages you are worried about. Look back at the planning inspectors report and conclusion recommending the rejection of the hub.

      • The housing policy, and the algorithm used to determine housing numbers, is a product of RogerOak Gale’s government. A government which is in receipt of substantial donations from the building industry. A shameless capitalist government, where making money is the Prime Directive.
        Some houses would have been built at Birchington anyway, but far fewer had the huge brownfield site at Manston been available.

    • Quite agree, Phyllis. They rather make a mockery of Beau Webber’s oft-repeated fiction that 90% of residents are ‘desperate’ for the airport to return. It is astonishing and tragic that the council missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – a huge brownfield site which, with skilled planning and suitable infrastructure, could have brought huge benefits to Thanet, as well as making a major contribution to the area’s inescapable housing requirement. Where were the people of vision? And yet there are still people seduced by tales of ‘green’ cargo hubs employing pick-any-figure-you-like number of workers and up and running within a couple of years. Unfortunately, they include our MPs.

  22. I suppose one could say “If you don’t want to live near hundreds of brand-new houses, move”. But that would be too cruel.

    • Well said Marva. And if people want to live next to an airport, there’s lots of them around the UK. Don’t insist on building one here where there hasn’t been an airport for years.

  23. Sir Roger Gale is a lovely man who has been very helpful to both myself and a (now deceased) family member. You’d be hard to find a more hands-on local MP (yet it’s impossible to get a reply when writing to many local cllrs about problems).

    As for housing, we really should build on golf courses. Does Thanet really need 3 of them when there’s more in Sandwich, Fordwich, etc?

    • Your points might be valid however the point is he campaigned for 2500 houses to be moved to Greenfields to protect a closed money pit at Manston, now campaigns to move those houses off the greenfields

  24. Presumably Sir RodgerOak’s wife thinks he’s a lovely chap, too. And no doubt his grandson will appreciate his concerns about pollution from aviation.
    But there’s no doubt whatsoever that Sir RodgerOak’s strenuous efforts to support Manston for aviation only has lead directly to the unfortunately position the folk of Birchington now find themselves in.
    It might not have been quite so bad had these souls not wholeheartedly thrown in their lot with Sir RodgerOak, and contributed to a Local Plan that pretty much ensured 1000s of houses would be built on greenfield sites around Thanet.

    • How many people here can even NAME the last 2 Labour candidates for North Thanet? It’s ok to say we should vote for someone else, but no parties seem to put forward candidates that even show any real interest in the area, with even Nigel Farage chickening out and instead trying for Thanet South. Even those against Sir Rog’s policies still want an MP to truly represent the area.

      • Complete whataboutery! You can’t excuse Gale’s hypocrisy by blaming the lack of a decent opponent.

        He has campaigned directly for the houses to be built on greenfield sites around Thanet so that his ridiculous fantasy can be protected. Golf courses aren’t selling their land. Private landowners, who also happen to be Roger’s mates, are. Start waking up and smelling the coffee.

  25. Roger’s toxic approach to incomers especially those who disagree with his rampant aviation obsession are treated badly. We’re told we are fools for moving somewhere with a defunct airstrip. Like we are psychically attuned to a struck off solicitpr trying over and over again to open his pipe dream airport. We’re told to move. We’re told we are trying to subvert democracy….. I suggest this divisive and bullish approach has set back community relations a decade.

    The endless rhetoric about London, whether sink estate or DFL, is appalling, rude, insincere and just plain offensive. It gives Thanet a bad name and makes us look like a pretty horrible lot. In reality, Thanet is a decent and kind place with people of all ages and perspectives.

    This Manston obsession and fixing up the local plan to protect a defunct airfield has to stop. Beau and Roger and their green environmental credentials are laughable. Hydrogen planes and electric barges. Please.

    The only people to blame for this housing development on prime land and the ruinous expansion of our villages lies with Roger, Craig, TDC, Tony F and his mystery secretive overseas investors.

    What goes around comes around.

    • I am unashamedly a DFL, but Ramsgate has been my home for years.
      When first I washed up on these shores (so to speak) I visited what turned out to be a very “local” pub, with very “local” customers.
      Was I ostracized? Made to feel unwelcome? Shunned or given the cold shoulder?
      Quite the opposite.
      Within a week, my wife and I were addressed by name when we popped in for a pint, and those immortal words “Your usual, Andrew?” uttered.
      We had our ears whispered into, so come New Year’s Eve, we were included amongst the select group welcoming in the New Year somewhat later than the Law strictly allowed.
      Ramsgate: the only place where I’m on first name terms with the Mayor (Raushan) and the street sweeper (Malcolm).
      Possibly our reception in Birchington or Garlinge would have been different?

      • I don’t think Garlinge has seen a street sweeper in years!

        Seriously, I’ve spent much of my adult life in Garlinge, Westbrook and Westgate (and from next month I’ll be in Birchington), and I, with my often almost incomprehensible South London accent, have always most felt welcomed and at home. Wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!

  26. “Which do you prefer- Houses or huge investment from an ‘airport’ that brings jobs?” This is the tub-thumping rhetoric that has been constantly spouted by the Manston supporters.

    As has always be the case, houses are coming ANYWAY, Manston’s expected jobs were found to be drastically overstated by the planning inspectors and some will be additionally automated (RSP Director Freudman’s own words) and a Manston cargo hub will damage the local economy and the jobs that already exist.

    All of this will happen, as fossil fuel cargo planes fly extremely low and at a desired rate of 6-planes/hour, dispersing aviation fumes on us, lorries will need to ferry all the cargo from this inconveniently-positioned corner of England & there’s less greenfield sites to soak up the pollution as the houses had to go somewhere!

    So, less jobs, more pollution, less greenery & more health problems too.

    Quod erat demonstrandum.

  27. I am not a Labour voter. I couldn’t give two figs who the previous Labour candidates were.

    Manston isn’t about Tory/Labour, it is about obsession. Pet project. Ego. Legacy. Anti outsider. Anti development. Control and authority by a few. Bob Bayford being another meddler. The TDC administration with the clearest conviction it wouldn’t work was UKIP.

    Roger just keeps on and on and on doesn’t he. But he’s caught out here and elsewhere because we know he campaigned for these houses to go here. The evidence is posted on these comments.

    The community might be divided, but it isn’t stupid. Articles like this just highlight the hypocrisy of his position on housing/Manston.

    • I no longer “do” party politics, and if I thought someone from Labour, Green, Lib-Dem or UKIP (do they even still exist?) were more suitable for local needs then I’d vote for them.

        • Ha ha!

          Back to DFL’s: Being (sort of) one myself (36 years ago!), I don’t care where people come from. What DOES bother me are those that move here and create their own little self-contained communities, with little regard of the areas around them (many of the arty DFLs in Margate have probably never even been to Broadstairs and Ramsgate, let along Birchington or Minster! I personally pride myself with being at least vaguely familiar with pretty much every town and large village in East Kent… and this from someone who was born into a Pre-Fab off the Old Kent Road!

  28. I see Gale’s comment the PM has to decide does he support the environment or developers. Coming from a man who has supported a 24/7 cargo hub,with aviation being one of the worst polluters possible, at Manston at every possible opportunity it is the hight of hypocrisy. Surely even he can see that, or has he conveniently forgotten that now his rabid campaigning for RSP has come back to bite him ?

  29. So now the residents of Birchington and surrounding area are beginning to realise what is going to hit them and they don’t like it. Well tough! You supported a man whose sole obsession with RSP and and an airport that was never going to go anywhere was your downfall. And now caught in a trap of his own making he is trying to wriggle free by trying to stop the government from developing on greenfield lands. The hypocrisy of this man knows no bounds. No point now in telling him to go to hell folks he is already building it for you. And of course in his well known phrase ‘if you don’t like it move’

  30. To paraphrase Gale if you leave near fields you shouldn’t be surprised if someone comes along and builds on them. You knew they were there.

  31. If the original owners had been allowed to develop Manston, the houses would be built and families living in them.
    Many Thanet residents would be going to work at SHP business park.
    Dog walker’s would be checking out the new walks along the disused runway.
    Birchington Westgate Garlinge would be left as it is.
    Roger Gales gone way beyond his sell by date.

    • Well said Lynda. People forget that the SHP plans for the airfield were for a proper development, with doctors’surgeries, shops, open spaces etc, not just houses dumped on the outskirts of villages which are already underresourced. In losing that I’m afraid Thanet has lost a real chance for sustainably developed housing without a negative impact on local resources.

  32. Roger Gale said to Boris at prime ministers questions, there’s no point building houses in Birchington as there won’t be any jobs for them whilst simultaneously saying elsewhere that the airport will bring thousands of jobs to Thanet, which is it Sir Roger ? TDC have previously said if the airport does go ahead there will be demand from central government for more houses in Thanet, these will also need to go in Westgate, Birchington and anywhere other than on the Manston site which will of course be an airport. The airport will eventually fail, it always has, and then there will be houses built on it so we end up with houses, houses everywhere. Well done Sir Roger happily living elsewhere of course enjoying a peaceful retirement.

    • And let’s not forget Ramsgate Lover one of his chiefs of staff Beau Webber by strange coincidence lives in Canterbury well away from the airport!!

      • And let’s not forget one of the main campaigners ‘AGAINST’ the airport, Mr I’m full of my own self importance Barry James, lives in Southampton 🤷🏼‍♂️

        • LoL Buck that’s hilarious except that he has always said he isn’t campaigning against planes rather he campaigns against Freudmann a serial failure who was struck off as a solicitor, has a series of over 25 business failures and drove “Planestation” into the ground taking local peoples’ money with it. Maybe RSP should change their figurehead. And after years of saying they don’t need Govt money it seems the BBC have made them admit they are taking a govt subsidy after all

        • Good point Buck except, Southampton has an airport so perhaps Mr James isn’t against airports in general, just this one, run by a shyster, perhaps?

          Also, if the Manston project is, as RSP claim, of national importance, why shouldn’t someone from Southampton or John O’Groats, for that matter, have an opinion on it?

          Mr Freudmann is Welsh, if you are at all interested.

  33. So a number of issues raised by residents quite justifiably “The meeting had a large public attendance and included members of the neighbouring Westgate Town Council and Monkton Parish Council. Residents in attendance were allowed 3 minutes to speak publicly about the proposals. Several took the opportunity to express deep concerns on behalf of the community and spoke passionately about anxieties over light pollution, rainwater management and flooding, loss of privacy from overbearing buildings and the lack of employment opportunities created by the development.” But where were these residents when those in Ramsgate needed support to stop a cargo hub with planes every 15 minutes over their houses and schools ? Many no doubt supported the airport but for some reason now complain about the implications for them which I entirely support and understand.

  34. Gale and quite a few Tory and independent TDC councillor’s should be hanging their heads in shame. They have created this situation by their support for the 24/7 cargo hub in the face of overwhelming evidence from so many experts it was and never ever will be viable. With SHP’s plan there was a chance for something new including road improvements from KCC to tackle traffic around WWX. All gone now never to return.

  35. Roger Gale’s outrage about the houses being built on greenfield sites is a direct consequence of him supporting Riveroak plans for the airport. (A review of the comments following the article show local opinion) The consequence of which caused any housing that could have been put on the brownfield site that is Manston have been relocated to Birchington and Westgate. The government has placed a requirement on Thanet Council to allocate land for 17,140 in their Local Plan. Those houses will be built with or without an airport.

    Secondly Riveroak, in their application for a DCO made claims of 30,000 jobs being created; 4,200 directly at the airport by year twenty and 26,000 indirect jobs in East Kent and beyond. Similar figures were put forward by both previous owners Wiggins and Infratil but never materialised.

    TDC in their local plan project 5,000 new jobs to 2031 but make no mention of Manston as a possible source. (Local Plan Page 26) Perhaps they too have little faith in Riveroak’s claims.

    Should Riveroak have their DCO granted they still have many hurdles to leap. They have yet to get an airport licence from the CAA and sort out the flight paths. They have to show they have the finance in place to build and they have to find customers (airlines, carriers) to use the airfield.

    The claim they will cater for 10,000 air cargo movements is a figure put forward in their DCO application because that is the minimum threshold necessary for their application to qualify. They have not submitted any evidence to show they can achieve that figure.

    The principle reason they went for a DCO was it provided a means to obtain the right to compulsory purchase the land. Now that Stonehill Park have sold the land to them the need for the DCO has been reduced or eliminated. They now own a brown field site without an airport or houses.

    Cries of “We want an airport” does not show need. Neither, without identifiable investors or a credible business plan does it show viability.

    • The DCO is merely an exercise to take away planning decision from the authorities and residents locally… why would anyone think this is a good idea??

  36. Next week Roger and Tony will unveil their electric unicorns on local media. Exclusive.

    Electric unicorns will trot the cargo off the hydrogen planes down to the port and onto electric barges.

    After this, we’ll all wake up and Bobby Ewing will be running a coffee shop for art loving DFLs in the harbour and it will all have been a terrible nightmare.

  37. Roger Gale is a side show in all of this, the real villains are the officers and councillors at TDC who committed to an unsustainable Local Plan with 17,000 new homes, 5,000 new jobs (i.e. = maybe 20,000 people to add to the unemployed or who will commute elsewhere) and no infrastructure – it will not work no matter how it is dressed up and all of Thanet will suffer as a consequence. Forget RG go after those incompetents at TDC who wrote the Local Plan and those cowards elected to TDC who put their personal political ambitions ahead of the well-being of the people of Thanet.

    • He is more that a side show Blue Fox. Much more The officers were not to blame yes councilors such as Bayford and Piper et al. They are the culprits. And like Gale they put their own political ambitions before the local area. And are still doing so today. When the area needed men and women of vision we got dinosaurs of the past.Yes lets go with and airport that has never worked or ever amounted to a hill of beans and support a man that has been struck of a solicitor and presided over numerous failed attempts with the pile of concrete. Yep lets stick with that plan as Del Boy used to say ‘ you know it makes sense’

  38. You can’t really blame the officers. It is councillors, not the employees, who determine policy.
    If I remember correctly, the LP commended to the Council by officers did NOT restrict Manston to aviation only.
    This version of the LP was rejected by UKIP and Tory councillors.

  39. In addition to the tens of thousands of new homes being built on Birchington’s village green, tens of thousands more will be needed to house the 30,000 people employed at the airport.

    • If he had supported it, there wouldn’t be nearly as many houses built on the green belt around Birchington and Westgate. I really struggle with the aviation fans who still refute the fact that the 2,500 houses allocated to Manston in the draft local plan were redistributed across the district! Gale’s recent efforts to be the champion against the very green belt development he caused, shows how concerned that this will be his legacy – the destruction of good quality land and an empty brownfield site at Manston

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